Brits were devastated on Monday night as Number 10 announced an unprecedented third national lockdown, including the mass closure of schools, universities (with only a few exceptions), “non-essential” shops, leisure venues, entertainment venues, pubs, and restaurants.
On 6 January 2021, the familiar scene of the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak filled British TV screens as he announced another injection of financial support for hamstrung UK businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, as well as potential assistance for businesses in other sectors.
As usual, the numbers sound big when mentioned as a whole. But, divided by business, this is how they break down:
Who gets what in the new grant?
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector can get up to £9,000 “per property”.
The grant is available only to businesses which are legally required to close or which “cannot operate effectively remotely” (for example, gyms).
The actual amount given is dependent on the business’s rateable value.
Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less are eligible for a one-off £4,000 grant. Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 and £51,000 are eligible for £6,000. The remaining businesses are eligible for the full £9,000.
This grant comes in addition to existing lending schemes which are already in place to assist businesses, such as the Winter Economy Plan and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector are also being given 100 per cent rates relief.
If your business does not meet the criteria above (for example, if it is in another sector or does not pay business rates) and is therefore ineligible for the grant, then it might still be able to receive alternative funding as a result of an additional £594 million discretionary fund which has been made available for these cases in particular.
There is also already a £1.1 billion existing discretionary fund available for Local Authorities to assist businesses. (You should query your Local Authority for details. We can assist as needed.)
It also might be possible to obtain £3,000 monthly assistance for closed businesses in other sectors as well as up to £2,100 per month once your business reopens. (Please contact us for details so we can understand your specific case and advise you on which particular grant or source of funding might be the best match for your particular circumstances.)
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS, commonly referred to as the “furlough scheme”) has been extended until April 2021. This scheme promises 80 per cent of employees’ wages who are placed on furlough (up to a cap of £2,500).
The government’s 100-per-cent-backed Bounce Back Loan Scheme has been extended until March.
How to apply for the grant
Applications for the new grant must be done through one’s local authority.
If you are uncertain which is the correct local authority for your business, you can use this external link for assistance.
We are also able to assist you to whatever degree possible with your application. Please contact us for details.
Shoaib Aslam is the co-founder of Pearl Chartered Accountants, a UK-based chartered accountancy firm that has multiple locations across London. They are experts in helping startups and established businesses with all aspects of growth, strategy, scaling up, accounting and tax planning.